3 Things to Remember About Sexual Harassment at Work
Sometimes sexual harassment seems like one of those things that went away with the ‘90s. Unfortunately, that isn’t so.
The New York Times released an investigation last week about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, with many well-known actresses speaking out this week to say he harassed them too. Several have alleged sexual assault, as well.
The Weinstein Company terminated him shortly after the initial report, but journalists have reported that the Board may have known about his behavior for decades.
So what can you do to prevent sexual harassment? And what should you do if it happens to you? We are all responsible to create a safe environment at work.
3 Things to Remember:
1. Keep yourself safe first.
Your safety is paramount. While it is best to be clear with your colleagues that you do not welcome certain behaviors, sometimes you may be scared to lose your job or feel fearful about your physical safety. Do what you need to do to keep yourself safe, which might mean simply leaving the situation. Figure out afterward with a trusted friend, advocate, or lawyer how you’ll handle it in the future.
CWEALF’s Bilingual Community Advocate can provide you with the information and emotional support you need to decide on next steps, and connect you to a partnering attorney in your area or the CHRO (Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities), if that’s right for you.
2. It might not happen AT work.
Sexual harassment might not always happen in the office. It may happen after hours or offsite. What often matters is the impact it has on you in the workplace, and your ability to get your job done. Is it causing anxiety, fear, or depression?
Social media can be a breeding ground for sexual harassment, too. If your boss is repeatedly texting you late at night asking you to meet up, or sending you inappropriate Facebook messages, this behavior could be considered harassment. If that has happened to you, call us and we’ll connect you with an attorney for advice about your options.
Sexual harassment can happen in schools, too. Check out our module to train students.
3. Create an everyday culture where harassment is unacceptable.
Are you the boss? Or a manager? Be sure that your company or organization prioritizes sexual harassment training. In Connecticut, companies with three or more employees must post a notice that tells employees that sexual harassment is prohibited. Companies with 50 or more employees must provide a two-hour training for managers and supervisors within six months of their hire or promotion.
But even if your company is smaller, consider an annual training anyway. It sends a top-down message that this behavior is not acceptable. As the CT Employment Law Blog says: train, train, train! And take swift action when these situations arise.
Even if you’re not a manager and you’ve never been the subject of sexual harassment, you can help create a better culture, too! Be an active bystander and speak up when you see or hear something wrong. Your actions will go a long way to create a safe and respectful work culture.
*While this blog is not legal advice, CWEALF can connect you with an employment attorney in your area. Call our Information & Referral Line for more information. Contact us for one or two hour sexual harassment trainings in English and Spanish.
By Catherine Bailey, Deputy Director, CWEALF at 11 Oct 2017, 19:41 PM
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